Dan Wiederer at the Chicago Tribune reports that the Bears claimed kicker Roberto Aguayo off of waivers Monday.
The kicker has a very strong leg but his accuracy has been suspect since he was drafted in the second round by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Aguayo’s accuaracy was only 71% in 2016, last in the NFL.
The Bears agreed to pay his $500,000 guaranteed salary and though head coach John Fox said that the money wasn’t “significant enough to not take a look” it indicates that this isn’t just a question of signing camp competition for kicker Connor Barth.
Barth is extremely accurate within 35 yards but you never got the feeling that the Bears were completely happy with him, especially after he had a bit of a rough start last year before pulling himself together for the majority of the season. His range is limited and, though Barth has a history with special teams coordinator Jeff Rogers, the Bears front office may figure that it’s time to sign a kicker who can do a little bit more.
It’s hard to know what’s been going on with Aguayo but guaranteeing him half million dollars may indicate that the Bears have an idea of what is wrong with him and how to fix it. If its mental, that may be tough to do but Aguayo was considered to be one of the best prospects ever coming out of college at Florida State where he must have faced at least some high pressure situations. The Bucs traded third- and fourth-round picks to move up 15 spots in the second round last year to select Aguayo.
According to Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune at least one unnamed special teams coordinator said Aguayo was confounding to him because the kicker struggles to replicate the same mechanics from kick to kick. The Bears appear to be betting that Rogers may be able to help with that in a way that the Buccaneers coaches couldn’t.
It will be interesting to see how it works out.